On November 15, Brazil will have the first real opportunity to initiate a political change, capable of resuming the democratic process interrupted by the advent of Bolsonaro as President of the Republic.

November 15 is the day of the municipal elections. From north to south, from towns of a few thousand inhabitants to metropolises of millions, votes will be taken to elect mayors and councilors.

Governing cities such as Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Rio and São Paulo, in addition to giving a notable national projection, gives the political and moral weight to be able to interfere on the national scene. But it is from below, from the popular base, that democratic coexistence can generate movements and ideas that determine the future of the nation. It is enough to think of the history of parties like the PT –Partido de los Trabajadores–, born from and in the factory strikes of the late 1970s; just think about Liberation Theology and the grassroots communities, the Sem Terra Movement … And if initiatives of this caliber are currently lacking, it certainly does not mean that the grassroots have disappeared or that they are resting on their laurels.

Political demobilization, the loss of prestige of participation, is a process common to all the great western democracies and Brazil – a peripheral country – suffers from the same problems. However, the social and cultural composition of our people is such that it allows the birth in the territories of an endless number of initiatives capable of involving and uniting forces and interests, through political work that goes far beyond traditional militancy. It is the one that is integrated into the needs of the community in which it was born: the right to access services, the right to security, culture, self-determination.

The suburbs of our cities, often left to themselves, are prey to drug trafficking and the action of the armed militias, so dear to the Bolsonaro family. However, they also see the birth of popular groups organized transversally, capable of producing the fundamental democratic debate to interfere in the urban policies of the municipality, beyond political or partisan organizations.

Through live broadcasts and weekly interviews, the Brazilian newsroom of Pressenza has decided to participate in the electoral process by giving space and a voice to candidates who live these realities.

The first will be Maiara Felício, candidate of the Workers Party for councilor for the city of Nova Friburgo, State of Rio de Janeiro. She is one of the founders of the «Império das Negas» Collective. Originally formed by Afro-descendant women (“negas”), the group has become a point of reference for the ethical training of young people: the rescue of their own identity is at the base of every initiative.  

Translation by Lulith V.  from the voluntary Pressenza translation team. We are looking for volunteers!